In a year of comebacks, the LG V30 could be the phone maker's best handset to date. Here's what we're hoping to see when it finally breaks cover.
We don't know a whole lot about the LG V30 just yet. (That'll likely change in the run up to release, as more details inevitably leak out online.) But for the time being, all we have is a collection of CAD renders and some vague details around its rough proportions — expect a 6-inch screen and standard 2017 flagship specs.
1. A serious wide-angle camera
LG's wide-angle camera is one of the G6's best features, letting you capture dramatic shots with a fuller field of view. But there is one major downside: With its lack of optical stabilization, small pixels and f.2/4 aperture, the wide-angle camera just isn't great in low light. In fact, even in daylight shots, fine details tend to get stripped away, particularly around the edge of the frame.
LG has the chance to make its wide-angle camera as good as its main shooter.
So, with Samsung reportedly including two OIS-equipped cameras in the Note 8, the time would be right for LG to pull out all the stops, with a wide-angle lens that's on par (or at least close) to the main shooter. Doing so would raise the cost of the phone (to be expected for a higher-end model) and likely add a camera bump (which we're already seeing in the current crop of V30 leaks). Nevertheless, the improvement in image quality would surely be worth it.
I also want to see what LG can do when it's not hamstrung by a main camera with small 1.1-micron pixels. The LG G6's camera takes great photos, but it's way slower than the likes of the Galaxy S8 and HTC U11, which use sensors with larger pixels.
With the extra budget afforded by a true flagship phone, I'm eager to see what LG can achieve in both the V30's cameras.
2. Phablet-class battery life
Nobody's expecting the V30 to bring back the removable battery. Because of this, and the fact that the V30 is going to be a good deal larger than the G6, LG has an opportunity to excel in battery life. Samsung's need to include an S Pen in the Note 8 has reportedly limited that device to a 3,300mAh cell, which basically guarantees inferior battery life compared to the Galaxy S8+.
With no S Pen taking up room inside the chassis, LG's new phone has a chance to outlast the Note 8.
LG has no such limitations in the V30, and so the extra size of the phone gives it the chance to push battery life as a major feature. Considering LG managed to cram a 3,300mAh cell into the G6, we'd expect a figure somewhere north of that for the new model. And given the exceptional efficiency we've been seeing from Snapdragon 835 phones in recent months, a 3,500 or 3,600mAh cell could go a very long way indeed.
3. No more weird regional differences
It's time for equality among LG phones, with the same feature set wherever you buy. That's a given for the majority of Android handsets, but the G6 found itself in the odd position of having major features like the Quad DAC, 64GB of storage and wireless charging missing in some regions.
To confuse matters further, there was no single G6 SKU with all of these features — at least not until the announcement of the G6+ many months later.
With a meatier flagship like the V30, there's no excuse for LG's various regional offices to be allowed to lop off major features. Wherever in the world you buy it, the phone needs to ship with at least 64GB of storage, wireless charging and whatever fancy audio stuff LG and its partners have developed.
4. Android 8.0 out of the box
The LG V20 arrived at just the right time to be one of the first handsets with Android 7.0 Nougat — though some of its thunder was stolen by the Google Pixel. This year, with similar timings expected for the stable release of Android 8.0, we're hoping LG is able to get in on the ground floor with the new version of Android.
Another 'first' with Android O would be a big win for LG.
Again, this would give it a small but important advantage over the Note 8, which is expected to ship with Android 7.1.1, while also giving the new phone all the battery life and performance benefits offered by Android O. With 8.0 out of the box, whichever battery capacity LG opts for should go even further.
5. A fresh direction for software
LG's UX 6.0 looks fine and all, but it's clear the UX conversation has moved on since the company's last major visual refresh in 2016. Samsung has brought us a fresh, futuristic aesthetic on the Galaxy S8. Others like OnePlus have shown how best to build on the look and feel of vanilla Android. Even Huawei is finally making progress.
LG's latest UX is solid, but feels incomplete.
So it's time for LG to finally do away with the bits of legacy UI that've been sticking around for the past couple of years, and, from the ground up, show what really great mobile software should look and feel like in late 2017. The 2:1 split-screen visual style it pioneered on the G6 is a great starting point, but it feels incomplete, and has too many weird holdovers from ancient LG handsets.
So with the next LG flagship, we're hoping to see what LG can do to build out the latest version of Android with unique, complementary visual flair.
What do you want to see in LG's new flagship phone? Share your hopes (and fears) down in the comments!
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